Frank J. Buchman

Cowboy • Horseman • Writer

Anti-Horse Slaughter Bill Reaches Milestone With Lawmakers Sponsoring It

Federal anti-horse slaughter legislation, known as the SAFE Act, H.R. 3475, reached a critical political threshold with a majority of the U.S. House publicly on record in supporting it.

H.R. 3475 would, among other things, halt inhumane trafficking of healthy horses to Mexico and Canada to be butchered for reexport to Asia.

The SAFE Act, would ban the slaughter of U.S. horses for human consumption, including live exports to Mexico and Canada.  The companion bill, S. 2037, also has strong bipartisan support.

“The United States halted any slaughter of American horses and other equines in 2007,” said Wayne Pacelle, president of Animal Wellness Action and the Center for a Humane Economy.

“Now it is time to complete the job of protecting American horses by halting live exports of them for butchering in Mexico and Canada.”

“The House Agriculture Committee should take note of the overwhelming Congressional support for the legislation on both sides of the aisle,” Pacelle added.

“I doubt any serious-minded lawmaker would stand up in the well of the House and defend this ruthless trade of horses who had lives as companions, racing animals, work horses, or other accepted roles in American society.”

Pressure for passage of the SAFE Act is mounting just as recently released USDA export data shows that kill buyers shipped 17,997 horses from Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas to slaughter plants in Mexico in 2023.

It is the most significant annual percentage increase of live exports since 2012. Final numbers are not yet available for live exports to Canada.

A year ago, an investigation by the Center for a Humane Economy, revealed immense suffering of horses and other equids during transportation, holding, and slaughter, with results showing a lack of care, deficient delivery of food or water, and transport in cramped, dangerous, and unsanitary conditions.

“We are sounding the alarm to Congress that healthy American horses are being butchered in a secretive, inhumane trade to Mexico,” Pacelle said.

“Not one more year of this trafficking of these iconic animals should be tolerated. The animal welfare community and the Thoroughbred racing industry are united in demanding an end to this archaic, miserable, sickening trade.”

Among hundreds of supporters of the SAFE Act are the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, The Jockey Club, The New York Racing Association, the New York Thoroughbreds Horsemen’s Association, and the New York Thoroughbred Breeders, Inc.

Animal Wellness Action is a Washington, D.C.-based 501(c)(4) whose mission is to help animals by promoting laws and regulations at federal, state, and local levels that forbid cruelty to all animals. The group also works to enforce existing anti-cruelty and wildlife protection laws.

The Center for a Humane Economy is a Washington, D.C.-based 501(c)(3) whose mission is to help animals by helping forge a more humane economic order.

The center encourages businesses to honor their social responsibilities in a culture where consumers, investors, and other key stakeholders abhor cruelty and the degradation of the environment.

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